Pharmacy Access Partnership Celebrates 10-year Anniversary!
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full decade since Pharmacy Access Partnership began its journey in 1999 to make reproductive health more accessible in pharmacies. Of our many accomplishments along the way, the top 10 we are most proud of include:
1. Years before the FDA made Emergency Contraception (EC) available over the counter, we led the nation in passing the first dedicated EC legislation, allowing women in California to access EC directly at the pharmacy.
2. California’s pharmacists provide pharmacy access to EC more than any other clinical service and make those services available in over 90 percent of California’s 58 counties, using culturally competent educational materials that Pharmacy Access Partnership developed in 11 languages.
3. The technical assistance and strategic support we provided through our policy analysis, STATES meetings, GO2EC.org website and Re-Granting program contributed to the emergence of pharmacy access programs in eight other states and sparked related efforts around the country.
4. Family planning signage in retail pharmacies is more prominent, making it easier for English and Spanish-speaking consumers to find the sexual health products they need (e.g. “Planning and Protection” at Target stores). These efforts are also promoted at Health Fairs through collaborative efforts during Binational Health Week.
5. Our work has been featured in numerous publications, including cover stories in Pharmacy Times and the East Bay Express, a weekly Bay Area paper.
6. Our published research includes a first examination of women’s experiences getting EC at pharmacies, providing a better understanding of their motivation and support for seeking pharmacy services.
7. Going beyond EC, in two national surveys we also documented that women across the U.S. are interested in and ready for pharmacists to play a bigger role in providing other hormonal contraception options, and that pharmacists want to meet this need. These data sets the stage for the development of pharmacy access programs for oral contraceptives, the vaginal ring, and contraceptive patch as well as national efforts to examine over-the-counter access for oral contraceptives.
8. Our training programs, collateral materials and resources are enabling pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and pharmacy students to build new skills and services to meet the needs of their communities.
9. Two Gala events and numerous other gatherings successfully brought the pharmacy community together with the women’s health advocacy community to promote women’s access to reproductive health services and supplies.
10. The vision of our late founder, Dr. Jane Boggess, remains alive in all our efforts to realize improved access to reproductive health services in pharmacies.
Pharmacy Access Partnership has become a recognized and respected leader in bringing the pharmacy community together with the women’s health advocacy community. Together with our partners we are forging new ground with innovative programs, practices and policies to change the way women access reproductive health services and supplies.
Our future looks promising and exciting! For example, as part of our Youth-Friendly Pharmacy Initiative we are collaborating with pharmacist trainers Sally Rafie and Dana Nelson to launch Youth-Friendly Pharmacy training in 2009. And of course to develop effective Youth-Friendly pharmacies, we are partnering with youth themselves to create relevant culturally competent resources for pharmacists. We are also in the process of creating a leadership development program for pharmacists around reproductive health and continue to convene a national workgroup of pharmacy school faculty to expand educational opportunities around reproductive health to ensure the pharmacists of tomorrow are able to best serve their communities.
Over the last ten years we have appreciated our collaborations with pharmacists, pharmacies, medical providers, women’s health advocates, researchers, students, business owners, government officials and policy makers to strengthen the role of pharmacists as valuable members of the reproductive health care team and pharmacies as additional access points for reproductive health services. We especially thank our Circle of Advisors for their leadership. We also thank our funders for their confidence and support. Here’s to another decade of innovation and collaboration in improving access to sexual and reproductive health!